The development of football in the town has been given a major boost, after Larne Youth agreed to become the official youth set up of Larne FC.
This is a significant development, not just for both clubs but for all aspiring young footballers in the area.
With the establishment of Larne Olympic and Larne Under 19s, this new affiliation means that there is now a clear path for any young players to represent the town all the way from the age of nine to senior Irish League football and beyond.
The two clubs will share resources and knowledge on and off the pitch with an unprecedented level of co-operation between the two organisations.
Two board members of each club will sit on the other club’s board on a non-voting basis, which will ensure a regular and direct line of communication between the clubs.
There will be a strong working relationship between the coaching staff at Larne Football Club and Larne Youth with the objective of developing players and coaches.
All Larne Youth players will be granted free admission to all Larne Football Club first team matches on production of their membership card.
Larne FC chairman, Archie Smyth said: “Larne Football Club is making great progress on and off the pitch.
“We are delighted that Larne Youth have bought into what we are trying to achieve at Inver Park. It will only strengthen both clubs further.
“Young people are the future and lifeblood of any club. We want Larne Youth’s players to identify with Larne Football Club and aspire to play for the club, to support the club and to get involved.
“Our two clubs have a common goal, and that is the develop football in the town and to give the town’s young people opportunities.”
Larne Youth Chairman Nat Woodside added: “This is Larne’s biggest signing of the year. This new link is a win-win situation for both clubs. It is for the benefit of all young players, local football and for the town in general.
“It makes common sense for Larne Youth to be affliated with the town’s senior club. Both clubs have to aspire to have a common club philosophy from top to bottom.
“We want players to go on a journey with Larne Youth and to aim to play for Larne FC. We currently have around 50 coaches at Larne Youth, and the link with Larne also gives them a great incentive to develop themselves as coaches and coach at a higher level.”
Larne Youth Football Development Committee Chairman, Johnny Hastings added: “This season we have 300 players for 18 teams and we wanted to keep those kids playing football in the town.
“To do that we wanted to build a natural progression for players through the age groups and on to senior football.
“With the affliation with Larne FC, it gives Larne Youth players something to aspire to, to work their way up and play for the first team. It is a link which should work very well for both clubs.”
Larne FC manager David McAlinden said: “All good clubs have to have a youth structure. It is pivotal that the youth feeds into our club. We aren’t in a position where we can go out and buy players so it is good to have a ready-made youth structure that becomes part of the football club.
“It’s a great link to have and it is long overdue.”